Most people assume divorce and legal separation are basically the same thing. However, both of these separate legal terms are significantly different from one another. While divorce means the legal termination of a marriage, legal separation is a court order which mandates the rights and duties of a couple while their marriage remains intact while living apart.
Common reasons why couples choose legal separation instead of divorce include:
- A spouse can retain the benefits of the couple’s healthcare plan, especially if it’s under the name of the other spouse
- Some religious institutions may obligate a couple to remain married, making legal separation a reasonable option
- For each party, taxes must be filed as “single” instead of “married” after divorce
- Remaining married for a decade or more qualifies couples for specific social security benefits
- In regards to military spouses, they are eligible for benefits from the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act if both remain married for at least 10 years
- Legal separation is reversible, since getting a divorce means no going back
Most importantly, legal separation provides both parties ample amount of time to either resolve their differences (such as financial issues and child custody) and resume their marriage or settle on divorce and transition into the next chapter of their lives. With the help of an experienced and skilled attorneys, you can seek the best separation agreement for you, your spouse, and your children.